Chickenpox Viral Infection : Causes, Symptoms And Prevention Of Your Child
Wednesday, February 8,2017
Chickenpox is a highly contagious disease caused by varicella-zoster virus (VZV), which can be transmitted by direct contact with the blisters of an infected person or the respiratory tract.
It causes epidemics that usually occur in temperate countries in late winter and early spring.
The contagious period begins 24 to 48 hours before the onset of redness and lasts about a week, until the blisters are dry and form a crust. Due to the contagion, it is sometimes necessary to keep the child at home, according to the policy of the school or nursery he attends.
In general, people who have had chicken pox in their childhood have produced antibodies that protect them against the disease for the rest of their lives. However, the varicella-zoster virus is not completely eliminated from the body.
In fact, it takes refuge in the nerves, where it enters dormancy. At this point, it is out of reach of the immune system. But under certain conditions, it can reactivate, migrate along the nerves to the skin, and then cause shingles.
In most cases, chickenpox is a benign disease. The most common complication is an infection of the skin lesions by bacteria, called bacterial over infection, which can occur when the child is scratching, for example. It is generally not serious, except in the rare cases where the infection is caused by a bacterium of the genus streptococcus.
Moreover, in pregnant women, if the chickenpox occurs during the first 4 months of pregnancy, it can cause malformations in the fetus (in 1% to 2% of cases).
In a person who has been in contact with the virus, symptoms usually appear within 14 to 16 days of infection.
During a period of 5 or 6 days at the most:
A slight fever;
Eruptions of red spots, resembling insect bites, sometimes distributed throughout the body (even the mucous membranes);
The pimples turn into small round bells, filled with a clear liquid;
After a few days, as they appear, the blisters dry and form a crust. At this point, they are no longer contagious.
Prevention of chickenpox
Basic Preventive Measures
For a long time, chickenpox was unavoidable and it was preferred that children contract it in very young age, while it is more benign.
Since 1998, Canadians and French have been vaccinated against varicella (Varivax III® in Canada, Varivax® in France, Varilrix® in France and Canada).
Vaccination against chickenpox has been included in the vaccination program for children in Quebec since 2006, but not in France. It is usually administered at the age of 12 months. Adolescents and adults who have never had chickenpox may also receive it (contraindications apply).
The need for and efficacy of a booster dose have not yet been established.
According to US scientific studies, immunization provides protection of at least 15 years.
In Japan, where the first (other commercial) varicella vaccine was manufactured, studies show that immunity is still present 25 years after vaccination. The effectiveness of the varicella vaccine varies from 70% to 90%.
Moreover, in people who have not completely immunized, the vaccine can nevertheless reduce the severity of the symptoms.
A large study in the United States indicates that vaccination has resulted in a significant reduction in cases of varicella (up to 90%), as well as a decrease in hospitalizations and deaths from chickenpox.
There is also a combined vaccine called RRO-Var (Priorix-Tetra®) that provides protection against 4 infectious diseases in one injection: chicken pox, measles, rubella and mumps.
Measures to prevent aggravation and complications
Encourage children not to scratch their pimples.
Cut the nails and wash the children’s hands regularly to prevent another skin infection from appearing if they scratch.
People who are more likely to have complications, such as pregnant women who have never had chicken pox and people with weakened immune systems, should avoid physical contact with affected children as well as with people (In times of crisis only), because these people can also transmit the chickenpox virus.
Be in contact with a contagious person.
Wednesday, February 8,2017-11:33:28AM[London]
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